We all like to think that mission is at the heart of our church and its ministry, but is it? Last month we looked at setting up a missions programme in your church. This month we want to think about how to determine if mission is foundational in your church.
If a church is to truly live out the challenge of Christ in Acts 1:8, then mission, at home and overseas, must be at its heart. That can only occur if there is an underlying philosophy of mission that permeates all aspects of that church’s structure and ministry.
For this to happen, mission must be incorporated into seven central aspects. Here’s the list; take time to work through it and see how your church is going.
1. Vision: At the heart of all that the church does there must be a desire to be a community of faith that faces outward and seeks to draw others in to share the faith – mission becomes a priority.
2. Mission: The church must understand its community, its nation, and its world, and must know the tasks that need to be fulfilled in each of these areas if the vision of being a mission-church is to be realised.
3. Strategy: Mission will not happen by accident. There needs to be a proactive setting of strategy to achieve the mission tasks of the church.
4. Structure: The structure of the church in terms of leadership, discipleship, and even Sunday morning services needs to be arranged with mission and the strategies to achieve mission in mind.
5. Leadership: The style and equipping of leadership, the way decisions are made, the management of roles, tasks and accountability need to facilitate the basic mission philosophy. Too often, leadership structures and church structures work against the mission strategy rather than helping it.
6. Resources: Mission costs! Mission is sacrificial! Resources need to be directed towards mission and towards achieving the mission philosophy of the church.
7. Momentum: The vision and mission needs to be constantly re-evaluated and re-sown into the life of the church.
Churches that sustain fruitful mission on a long-term basis have usually thought carefully about these seven aspects of church life and whether they impinge upon their mission values. That’s why it’s worthwhile pulling out this checklist occasionally and reviewing the effectiveness of your church’s life, mission and ministry.